CITATION for Palagummi Sainath for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts
Ramon Magsaysay Award 2007
In the early twentieth century, the press was at the heart of India’s freedom struggle. During those formative years, says Indian reporter Palagummi Sainath, journalism contributed to “the liberation of the human being.” In contrast, he says, India’s press today merely performs “stenography” for big business and the governing elite. As the economy surges, matters that call for the urgent attention of the public and government are ignored in favor of film starlets and beauty queens, the stock market, and India’s famed IT boom.
Sainath has taken a different path. Believing that “journalism is for people, not for shareholders,” he has doggedly covered the lives of those who have been left behind. Born in Chennai in 1957, Sainath completed a master’s degree in history before turning to a life of journalism. At Blitz, a Mumbai tabloid, he rose to be deputy chief editor and became a popular columnist. In 1993, he changed course.
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